CNN

Southwest pilot praised by passengers for ‘nerves of steel’ during emergency

Apr 18, 2018, 8:11 AM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 4:00 pm
The National Transportation Safety Board is onsite inspecting a Southwest airline plane after engin...
The National Transportation Safety Board is onsite inspecting a Southwest airline plane after engine failure caused the plane to make an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport.

(CNN) – Things looked grim aboard the Southwest flight.

About 20 minutes after their flight departed from New York, passengers say they heard what sounded like explosions. The emergency from an engine failure appeared to have shattered a window on the plane. And what was most dire was that a female passenger was being sucked into the hole left by the broken glass.

In those tumultuous moments with oxygen masks dangling down the cabin and passengers screaming as they struggled to save the woman, none of the panic came through in the voice of a pilot on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380.

Tammie Jo Shults’ name has not been officially released by Southwest Airlines, but passengers who were on the flight have identified her as the pilot. Many of them are praising her for how she handled the emergency Tuesday.

In air traffic control audio, a female pilot spoke calmly and slowly, describing the emergency that was unraveling more than 30,000 feet in the air — all the while trying to land a damaged plane suffering engine failure.

“We have a part of the aircraft missing,” she told air traffic control.

As they spoke briefly about the emergency landing the plane would have to make in Philadelphia, she asked matter-of-factly: “Could you have the medical meet us there on the runway as well? We’ve got injured passengers.”

Air traffic control responded: “Injured passengers, OK. And is your airplane physically on fire?”

“No, it’s not on fire,” she replied. “But part of it is missing. They said there’s a hole and that someone went out.”

The air traffic controller responded: “Um, I’m sorry. You said there was a hole and somebody went out? Southwest 1380 it doesn’t matter we will work it out there.”

The plane went from an altitude of 31,684 feet to just about 10,000 feet in a little over five minutes time, according to data from FlightRadar24.com.

The plane descended precipitously, passenger Kristopher Johnson said, but the pilot regained control and informed passengers the flight was headed to Philadelphia.

Another passenger Marty Martinez said he heard, “Brace for landing. Brace for landing.”

It was a rough landing, he said, and things were still so chaotic that he wasn’t sure if the plane was going to crash.

“It was just all incredibly traumatic, and finally when we … came to a halt, of course, the entire crowd was (in) tears and people crying and we were just thankful to be alive,” Martinez said.

Kathy Farnan, a passenger said that the crew knew what they were doing and kept everyone calm.

“The pilot was a veteran of the Navy,” Farnan told CNN. “She had 32 years in — a woman. And she was very good.”

When it was all over, the pilot came out of the cabin and hugged everyone, telling them, “You all did a great job. You did a very good job,” said passenger Amy Serafini.

They not only praised her technical skills, but her professionalism after they landed.

Passengers told CNN affiliate WPVI that she walked through the aisle and talked with passengers to make sure they were all right.

Another passenger, Alfred Tumlinson told WPVI: “She has nerves of steel. That lady, I applaud her. I’m going to send her a Christmas card, I’m going to tell you that, with a gift certificate for getting me on the ground. She was awesome.”

Johnson posted a picture of the shredded engine and thanked the crew, calling them #angelsinthesky.

He also tweeted a photo of the crew, calling them heroes. “We lost an engine mid-flight and they guided back to Philly.”

The female passenger, whom witnesses said was pulled back in from the broken airplane window, died at a Philadelphia hospital, authorities said. Seven others were treated for minor injuries.

The plane had departed from New York, bound for Dallas.

(2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.)

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

CNN

Los Angeles police are asking for the public's assistance in identifying a suspect who is seen on s...
Natasha Chen and Aya Elamroussi, CNN

Police arrest suspect in an unprovoked assault of an Asian man in Los Angeles

Los Angeles police have arrested a suspect in the assault of an Asian man last week, in an attack caught on surveillance video, police said.
1 day ago
An image taken from a video posted by  Robert Nightingale, who was a passenger aboard the Amtrak tr...
Amy Simonson, Steve Almasy, David Williams and Pete Muntean, CNN

3 killed, at least 50 injured when Amtrak train derails in Missouri after hitting dump truck

Three people are dead and at least 50 injured after an Amtrak train derailed Monday in Missouri, authorities said Monday evening.
1 day ago
FILE: The Instagram app logo is displayed on an iPhone on Aug. 3, 2016, in London, England.  (Photo...
Rachel Metz, CNN Business

Instagram is testing AI that verifies your age with a selfie scan. It’s not perfect

Instagram is testing new ways to verify its youngest users' ages, including by using artificial intelligence that analyzes a photo and estimates how old the user is.
1 day ago
Azuradee France, mother of the child found in a freezer in the basement of her Detroit home. (Credi...
Benjamin Schiller and Artemis Moshtaghian, CNN

Michigan mother charged with killing toddler son whose body was in freezer

A mother in Detroit has been charged with murder after the body of her 3-year-old son was found in a freezer Friday.
1 day ago
NASA has carried out its first commercial spaceport launch outside the United States. (Equatorial L...
Kathleen Magramo, CNN

NASA launches first rocket from Australian space center

NASA has successfully launched a rocket from Australia's remote Northern Territory, making history as the agency's first commercial spaceport launch outside the United States.
1 day ago
(FILES) This file aerial shot taken on September 15, 2010 shows the disputed islands known as Senka...
Junko Ogura and Simone McCarthy, CNN

Japan says Chinese coast guard ships in longest violation of its territorial waters in a decade

Two Chinese coast guard ships navigated Japan's territorial waters near a chain of disputed islands for more than 64 hours this week
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Southwest pilot praised by passengers for ‘nerves of steel’ during emergency